Welcome to 2024! I’d like to take a minute to express gratitude to everyone who helped my business grow over the past year. 🙏
I started a sole proprietorship, my transition, and a new life in Maine during the pandemic. It has been a wild ride – one that has left me feeling the deep and true power of community. As I reflect on 2023, I see all the ways my community has grown and blossomed into something healthy and stable. In a chaotic world full of drama, trauma, and fluctuating wealth, health, and mental states, I cannot overstate the thanks I feel for the life I’m building.
In the vein of gratitude and celebration…
Here are 10 Highlights of 2023!
1. I’m Directing!
For the first time since my thesis in college, I am directing a beefy project. Bless UP to Points North, Alex Morrow & Armadillo Collective, and the State of Maine for hiring me on to the Recovery in Maine Documentary Series.
After working on their Youth Voices film in 2022-2023 I began my own sobriety journey. Alex felt it was important to elevate voices in the community behind the scenes, thus I took charge directing and producing (and sometimes also rolling sound) on “Queer Recovery in Maine”.
Production ran from November 2023 – January 2024 and the film will be ready in March 2024! I cannot wait to share it with you 😀 I’m hoping to tour it around Maine’s recovery/community centers to foster engagement, community, and positive action benefiting all those in recovery, but especially my queer siblings. So SO much love for this project!
A reinvigorating drive brought me back to my YouTube channel. She got a little glow up with a new name (ASMRMeditations became TheySMR) and I was able to post a video nearly every month! Of course we have to take a break in the summer and winter around work and family but I’m very proud of the uploads.
I also got into short form content on YouTube and Instagram. Make sure you’re subscribed to @RissBic on both platforms to see what 2024 holds. I aim to continue with monthly content!
3. Intimacy Coordinating
I had the pleasure of taking a couple Intimacy Coordinator workshops this year. I was able to try my new moonlight position on a Damnationland short “Sweet Meats”. The crew was phenomenal! We had plenty of rehearsals and communication through some spicy and grotesque scenes. It was one of my favorite jobs of the year. The first of many in this role I hope! Shout out to Rebecca Myshrall for advocating for her actors and crew in her directorial debut. What a gem!
4. Commercial Work
In addition to Documentary and Podcasting, I had the pleasure of working across Maine on commercial projects. Big shout out to L.L. Bean’s Digital Team, Knack Factory, and Kindlach Creative for letting me flex my audio skills on the reg in the studio and out in the field.
5. Projects to Come…
I have so many projects on the horizon for 2024. The one I am most looking forward to creating is a podcast with my Grandad. He celebrated his 93rd birthday last year and I find it more important now than ever to be with him and my Grandma, listen to their stories, and learn from their wisdom.
In November, I went “Upta Camp” “Out back a Danforth” in my Grandad’s hometown of Brookton. I brought my mixer and recorded over 12 hours of footage. Now begins the process of archiving audio and video from all my family members.
With everything I collect I hope to make an audio-focussed series documenting his life, his laughter, and some of his love and wisdom to share with everyone. He says himself he doesn’t know what people could learn from a Mainer who only received an 8th grade education (though come to find out, he repeated 7th grade twice 😂) BUT he’s lived to 93 so there’s got to be something to it!
I totally know there is. I hope you will find something in it too 🙂
My weekly Queercovery meetings put me in touch with the Equality Community Center (ECC). I now volunteer behind their desk, at their events, and sometimes even moderate the Queercovery meetings. Most importantly, I’ve had access to deescalation and safety training through Prevention Action Change. Wowee do I wish every company and organization provided something like that. Check them out too!
I love this community center so much. Their programming is fantastic but what really makes it are the people. The world can be really tough on queer folks and I feel so much comfort and support behind their doors. I’m also thrilled they reached their goal for their Capital Campaign and are getting ready to break ground on their affordable housing project in 2024!
If you are ever on Casco St. in Downtown Portland, come say hey [gay]!
7. My Own Recovery
August 1st 2023 marked one year sober for me. In our Queercovery group at the ECC we celebrated with cupcakes and My Little Pony rings instead of your traditional AA chips. An all recovery group is what worked for me. I’ve seen so many positive outcomes in my life and continue to see it ripple outward. I feel so empowered with resources and education to help others too. If you catch me in the wild, never hesitate to talk recovery with me. We are all recovering from something and we all deserve so much healing and love. ❤️
And of course, check out @Queercovery on instagram! They now have in-person and online meetings! (and I designed their graphics :D)
I could bog you down with a million photos here, but I will practice self-restraint. On July 1st 2023 I welcomed Blue Eyes White Dragon AKA Blue to the family. He’s now 10 months old, sleeping through the night, a graduate of puppy school, and a snuggly lap dog. Yes, his tongue is too big for his mouth so it sticks out almost all the time. Yes, he is perfect.
If you want to know, he’s half chihuahua and half blue heeler (Australian cattle dog).
I want to know… how do you get a puppy to stop chasing our cat?
That’s right, I also welcomed Arnold into our home this summer. This 7 year old bengal is a cozy and vocal edition to the family. I may never use the bathroom alone again as long as they live 😂
With Arnold came Dan. We met in April, started dating and Uhauled by July. Seriously this summer was so eventful. He is the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve had to date and if you haven’t met him yet, I’m so excited to introduce you! Here we are trying to be cute at Funtown. To make up for that here he is actually being cute enjoying ramen on his birthday 😙 ❤️
My favorite trip of 2023 was to visit my college friends out west! We drove from LA to Palm Springs for a blissful long weekend of games, movies, tomfoolery, and impromptu tattoos. Gayven Family, I will love you til I die! Can’t wait to see what our next trip will be!
So that’s my year in review! I hope you enjoyed. If you are receiving this through email, let me know how it goes with a reply. This is my first time with this newsletter software and I’d love to do more round-ups like these. If you found this through my blog, thanks for visiting MarissaBickford.com. Keep coming back for more. Much love in 2024 and beyond! xoxo -Riss